FACTORS THAT AFFECT U.S. MILITARY ACCESS IN INDONESIA
Valdez, Michael T.
Malley, Michael S.
Kline, Jeffrey E.
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U.S. strategy to counter China in the Indo-Pacific requires military access to key defense partners in the region. Access in the region varies widely, and creates challenges for U.S. naval forces to conduct expeditionary advanced base operations (EABO). This thesis identifies the major factors causing variations in U.S. access to defense partners in the Indo-Pacific, and describes what levels of access the U.S. experiences in Indonesia. This thesis dissects military access into different types: maneuver and logistical. It examines each access type through comparative case studies with Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore. It then tests three factors that drive access in a U.S. defense partner by exploring shared security interests with the U.S., domestic politics, and institutionalized interactions. The cases show that all three factors generally help build and maintain U.S. access. However, great power entanglement fears skew Indonesia’s threat perceptions, anti-American minority groups heavily influence domestic politics, and Indonesia has relatively weak bilateral defense institutions with the U.S. The effects of these factors cause Indonesia to only provide a medium level of maneuver access through limited-duration exercises, and a low level of logistical access through contracting agreements. INDOPACOM should focus on enhancing bilateral exercises to include the use of newly developed U.S. Marine Corps units specifically designed for conducting EABO in the region.
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